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FAQs

Work Readiness Credential Overview
What is a Work Readiness Credential (WRC)?
What are considered entry-level jobs?
How is it tied to the Equipped for the Future applied learning standards?
What is the relationship to a high school diploma, GED, and postsecondary education?
What is the relationship between the Work Readiness Credential and industry-specific certifications?
Is the assessment valid and reliable?
What is the current status of the Work Readiness Credential?

Development and Management of the Work Readiness Credential
Who administers and manages the certification process?
Who owns the Work Readiness Credential?
Who are the contacts for the seven development partners?
Why did JA Worldwide become a founding partner of the Work Readiness Credential?
Which organizations provided the technical guidance for the development of the Work Readiness Credential?
What is the role of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW)?

Benefits for using the Work Readiness Credential
What is the benefit to employers?
What is the benefit for the public workforce development system?
What is the benefit for job seekers?

How the Work Readiness Credential Assessment Works
Who delivers and manages the assessment?
How long will it take an individual to complete the assessment?
What is the composition of the assessment?
What skills are measured in the situational judgment assessment?
Which skills are assessed?
What does the score on the assessment mean?
What will happen if an individual finds out he/she is in need of more skill development to be work ready?
Is there a curriculum that accompanies the assessment?

Start Using the Work Readiness Credential
Where can the Work Readiness Credential be administered?
How do I become an assessment site?

Promoting the Credential to Businesses in your Community
Are there resources you can provide to help me promote the credential to businesses in my community?

Work Readiness Credential Overview
What is a Work Readiness Credential?

The WRC is a certification of an individual's readiness for entry-level work as defined by employers. It is the first assessment for entry-level workers to provide a universal, transferable, national standard for work readiness.

What are considered entry-level jobs?
Entry-level jobs are defined as non-supervisory, non-managerial, non-professional positions. These may be unskilled positions, or they may be skilled positions where the required job-specific skills can be learned while on the job.

How is it tied to the Equipped for the Future (EFF) applied learning standards?
The WRC is based upon the nationally validated EFF applied learning standards, which were created as part of the National Institute for Literacy's ten-year standards development initiative. For more information, please visit EFF online.

What is the relationship to a high school diploma, GED, and postsecondary education?
The Work Readiness Credential is not intended to replace academics, high school, or postsecondary education. Instead, it addresses the ability of an individual to perform basic entry-level tasks.

What is the relationship between the Work Readiness Credential and industry-specific certifications?
The Work Readiness Credential can serve as the first step to help individuals entering the job market successfully obtain entry-level jobs. Upon entry, individuals can increasingly attain skilled occupational certifications for satisfying careers that pay well enough to support a family and that promote opportunities for future growth and development.

Is the assessment valid and reliable?
To ensure that the Work Readiness Credential meets the highest standards and is legally defensible as a predictor of competent entry-level work, the development and validation of the credential and assessment have been guided by the AERA/APA/NCME Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (1999) and by the Uniform Employee Selection Guidelines (CFR 28.50.14) adopted by the EEOC, the Civil Service Commission, the US Department of Labor, and the US Department of Justice to provide a framework for proper use of tests and other selection procedures. Special attention has been given to these guidelines in the methods, samples, and procedures used to:
- Define the work readiness profile of tasks and behaviors that are important to entry-level work in multiple work situations in multiple industry clusters and the skills and knowledge that are important to competent performance of those work tasks and work behaviors
- Develop instruments that assess whether individuals can use their knowledge and skills to solve work-related problems at a level that is commensurate with the entry-level profile defined by business
- Validate the instruments/assessment package, including use of a sample that is of sufficient size and diversity to determine whether it is a fair assessment package and a valid predictor of competent entry-level work

Longitudinal data on test takers is being collected to enable the National Work Readiness Council to determine how well the Credential predicts competent entry-level work.

What is the current status of the Work Readiness Credential?
Initially, the Work Readiness Credential was administered through the public workforce system's One-Stop Career Centers in the six founding states (FL, NJ, NY, RI, WA and the District of Columbia) and as part of the JA Worldwide high school curriculum. Currently, because the assessment is available through a web delivery system, there are 213 assessment sites in 23 states.
Development and Management of the Work Readiness Credential

Who administers and manages the certification process?
The seven development partners (District of Columbia, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington and JA Worldwide) have established the National Work Readiness Council in Washington, DC. The National Work Readiness Council is a 501(c)3 organization that is responsible for administering the oversight and management of the certification process. A Board of Directors for the organization exists and its Executive Director is Joseph Mizereck.

Who owns the Work Readiness Credential?
The National Work Readiness Council comprised of the seven development partners—the District of Columbia, Florida, JA Worldwide, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington—are the owners of the national Work Readiness Credential.

Who are the contacts for the seven development partners?
District of Columbia: Connie Spinner
Florida: Andra Cornelius
JA Worldwide: John Box,
New Jersey: Lansing Davis
New York: Karen Coleman
Washington: Mike Hudson

Why did JA Worldwide become a founding partner of the Work Readiness Credential?
JA Worldwide (JA) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that reaches more than seven million students worldwide through programs that prepare middle and high school students for future economic and workforce issues they will face, as well as programs that teach elementary school children how they can impact the world around them as individuals, workers and consumers. JA joined the project in order to work with other state and national partners in building and disseminating a Work Readiness Credential that will enable more young people and adults across the country to demonstrate they have the knowledge and skills to contribute to the 21st Century workplace. JA plans to integrate preparation for the NWRC into its programs for secondary school students. JA programs in Cleveland and San Francisco participated in the field test process as a first step toward this goal.

Which organizations provided the technical guidance for the development of the Work Readiness Credential?
SRI International is an independent, not-for-profit, science and knowledge-based research and consulting organization. It led a team of research and development organizations in designing the Work Readiness Credential. Other team members included technical experts from BMC Associates, the Center for Applied Linguistics, HumRRO, University of Tennessee's Center for Literacy Studies, and WestED.

What is the role of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW)?
ICW provide greatly needed support in the development of the exams and the initiative. Today, it is not actively engaged.

Benefits for using the Work Readiness Credential (WRC)
What is the benefit to employers?
The Work Readiness Credential is based on a business-defined standard of the critical skills needed by entry-level workers. Employers using the credential will reduce recruitment costs, improve productivity, minimize turnover, and lower on-the-job training costs by being able to confidently hire entry-level workers who can:
- Complete work accurately, on time, and to a high standard of quality
- Work in teams to achieve mutual goals and objectives
- Follow work-related rules and regulations
- Demonstrate willingness to work and show initiative
- Display responsible behaviors at work, including avoiding absenteeism and demonstrating promptness

What is the benefit for the public workforce development system?
The Work Readiness Credential can:
- Improve the focus, alignment, and accountability of the workforce development system
- Facilitate a common understanding among employers, workers and educators about the skills necessary to obtain entry-level employment
- Help align the system to a common goal
- Promote the development of training programs that are appropriate to the needs of employers and job seekers
- Provide a single set of standards to assess program performance and hold vendors accountable

What is the benefit for job seekers?
The Work Readiness Credential enables job seekers to demonstrate to prospective employers that they have the knowledge and skills needed for successful performance as entry-level workers. Entry-level workers benefit from the Credential because the Credential:
- Is the first step on a career path
- Helps entry-level workers identify the skills they need to strengthen to carry out entry-level tasks
- Provides entry-level workers with the skills they need to actively pursue advancement in the workplace

How the Work Readiness Credential Assessment Works
Who delivers and manages the assessment?
The National Work Readiness Council contracted with CASTLE Worldwide and Steck-Vaughn to manage and distribute the assessment.

CASTLE Worldwide manages the assessment via its secure, web-based system. Founded in 1987, it is one of the nation's leading certification and licensure testing companies. Located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, CASTLE Worldwide offers examination design, development and administration services. Further information about CASTLE Worldwide is available at www.castleworldwide.com.

Steck-Vaughn is the contact for learning how to become a test site certified to administer the Work Readiness Credential assessment. A Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint, Steck-Vaughn is a division of the world's largest supplier of educational materials with origins dating back to 1832. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt combines its tradition of excellence with a commitment to innovation and service. To learn more, visit www.hmhpub.com

How long will it take an individual to complete the assessment?
An individual is able to complete the assessment within 2 1/2 hours.

What is the composition of the assessment?
The assessment includes four modules—situational judgment, active listening, reading with understanding, and using math to solve problems—which can be completed separately or all together.

What skills are measured in the situational judgment assessment?
The ability to cooperate with others
- Conflict resolution and negotiation
- The ability to observe critically
- Problem solving and decision making
- Taking responsibility for learning

Which skills are assessed?
The Work Readiness Credential assessment has four modules that assess whether the test-taker can use eight (8) skills well enough to carry out critical entry-level tasks and responsibilities. Businesses from across industry sectors identified these skills as critical for entry-level workers to succeed in today's workplace and global economy:
1. Listen actively
2. Solve problems and make decisions
3. Cooperate with others
4. Resolve conflicts and negotiate
5. Observe critically
6. Take responsibility for learning
7. Read with understanding
8. Use math to solve problems

What does the score on the Work Readiness Credential assessment mean?
An individual's "score" on this assessment will indicate whether an individual is "work ready" or "needs more skill development to be work ready."

What will happen if an individual finds out he/she is in need of more skill development to be work ready?
The individual will be referred to an appropriate education and training provider for skill development.

Is there curriculum that accompanies the assessment?
Getting Ready for the National Work Readiness Credential is a guide that provides workforce preparation trainers and instructors with information on how to help entry-level job seekers develop the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the standard for work readiness defined by the NWRC. The NWRC standard builds on the solid research foundation of the HYPERLINK "http://eff.cls.utk.edu/default.htm" Equipped for the Future (EFF) Standards Framework, which defines the overall goal of adult learning as helping all adults develop and enhance their skills and knowledge so that they can better carry out their responsibilities as citizens, family members and workers.
To prepare job seekers to pass the NWRC assessment, trainers and instructors need to help them develop proficiency in the EFF skills to a level that will allow them to successfully carry out critical entry-level tasks and behaviors. This guide facilitates the learning process by:
- Explaining the NWRC Profile
- Describing the EFF skills in detail, with a focus on how the skills are linked to the tasks, and to a specific level of performance associated with those tasks
- Providing specific steps describing how instructors and trainers can help job seekers improve their proficiency in relevant EFF skills linked to entry-level tasks
- Providing links to curriculum and teaching materials

Steck-Vaughn is developing a comprehensive curriculum for test preparation that will be available in January 2011 and includes student books, interactive online practice and teacher lesson plans.

Also, trainers have a FREE curriculum available via www.floridaworks.org. Here trainers can download a 20 hour mini-course to help prepare candidates for the exams.

Start Using the Work Readiness Credential
Where can the Work Readiness Credential be administered?
The assessment is available through a web-based delivery system via a secure server. It can be administered by community colleges, other education and training providers, and employers.

How do I become an assessment site?
In order to become an assessment site you must complete an assessment site application form available from Steck-Vaughn. The site application form is reviewed and approved by the National Work Readiness Council. Test administrators at approved sites will be provided with proctor training at a minimal charge. To request a site application form or additional information, please contact your Steck-Vaughn sales representative.
Setting Up A Test Site

Promoting the Credential to Businesses in your Community

Are there resources you can provide to help me promote the credential to businesses in my community?
Please use the resources below to help promote the credential in your local business community. If you need additional information regarding the content of these resources, please contact Beth Fayyad, Product Marketing Director at Steck-Vaughn. Beth.Fayyad@hmhpub.com


Contact:
Joe Mizereck
joe@nwrc.org
800-761-0907


National Work Readiness Council
Phone 800.761.0907| Fax: 850.385.8546